On "Old People’s" Banks

For various reasons, I’ve come to require the convenience of a current
account. While making enquiries that would ultimately lead me to get
one, I discovered that a lot of notions I had about current accounts
were quite wrong.

I used to think that you incur charges for maintaining a current account
and for such reasons, banks preferred clients with regular or
predictable incomes. I found most of these fears to be quite unfounded,
or blown out of proportion as I set about the task of opening a current

I chose Guaranty Trust Bank(www.gtbplc.com), where I already own a
Savings Account, since I have found them to have ideas about banking
that tally with mine. For instance, you don’t have to switch off your
mobile phone when you get into the bank premises, and you are not
required to have a minimum balance, and banking is for the most part,
slip-free (this means I don’t have to carry easy-to-forget booklets
around if I need banking services anywhere I am).

I got the necessary forms, two sheets of paper, one of which was a
referees… (I’ve forgotten what they called it). I needed two people
with current accounts with any Nigerian bank to sign and make comments
about my ‘bank-with-them-ability’. Not too difficult. I got the first
one signed without fuss, the second one was no trouble either.

After chatting briefly with my mother’s long time friend, I asked her if
she thought she could sign a referee’s… for me.

"My bank is old people’s bank oh!" she said smiling.

"Which one?"

"Union Bank. Is that ok?"


It was an ‘old people’s bank’ indeed. In all my experience, I’ve only
met two or three people under 25, who owned accounts with Union Bank of
Nigeria. Most people I know would not even go there to pay their bills
(again, young people). They cite reasons such as dull and aging offices,
characteristic lack of technology, and (this is not intended to be
demeaning) staff that look like your father, and aren’t hesitant to
remind you that they were as old as your father (rude, if elderly folks
can be regarded as that). I’ve personally experienced this twice, and
assume that I looked ‘too young and irresponsible’.

Now, I’m no banking expert, but I wonder what would happen to such banks
as the younger people become more and more responsible for the bulk of
financial activity that banks handle.

fortune: This is a logical analogy too… anyone who’s been around, knows the world is run by paenguins. Always a paenguin behind the curtain, really getting things done. And paenguins in politics–who can deny it? — Kevin M. Bealer, commenting on the penguin Linux logo

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